Skip to comments.Three Key Principles in the War Against Terrorism
Posted on 06/20/2002 10:22:07 AM PDT by thatcher
[from its inception, terrorism has been wedded to totalitarianism. From Lenin to Stalin to Hitler, down to the Ayatollahs, terrorism is bred by totalitarianism. It requires a machine that inculcates hatred from childhood, grinding it into peoples' minds and hearts until they are willing even to blow themselves up for the purpose of murdering innocents.]
Three Key Principles in the War Against Terrorism
Former Prime Minister of Israel
The following is abridged from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College seminar in Naples, Florida, on March 19, 2002.
The United States is well on its way to winning the war against terrorism because the United States, under President Bush, has espoused three clear principles.
The first principle is moral clarity. President Bush said in his remarkable speech right after September 11 that there are no good terrorists, only bad terrorists -- that terrorism is always evil. In saying this, he was saying that nothing justifies terrorism. It is important to state this point clearly and to elaborate on it, because the main weapon that terrorists use against the West is not bombs or guns, but moral obfuscation: "You're terrorists, because you kill civilians, too. America, Britain, Israel -- all are terrorist states." We must harden ourselves against this amoral and debilitating charge.
Terrorism is not defined by the identity of its perpetrator. Nor is it defined by the cause, real or imagined, that its perpetrators espouse. Terrorism is defined by one thing and one thing alone. It is defined by the nature of the act. Terrorists systematically and deliberately attack the innocent. That is a very different thing from the unintentional civilian casualties that often accompany legitimate acts of war.
For example, in 1944 the British Air Force set out to bomb the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen. The British pilots missed, and instead of hitting the Gestapo they hit a hospital and killed 83 children and four nuns. That was not terrorism. That did not make Britain a terrorist state. That was a terrible but unintentional accident of the kind that accompanies every war. But terrorists don't accidentally kill civilians. The deaths of innocents are not an unintentional byproduct of their strategy. Terrorists deliberately target the innocent. They intentionally cross the lines that define the conventions of war that have been developed, in accordance with basic morality, to try to limit and regulate conflict. They willfully try to kill as many innocent civilians as they can. And this is never justified, regardless of the cause.
Going back to World War II, consider this hypothetical: You're an American officer. You're fighting for the most just cause in history. But you come into a German village -- maybe even a village next to a concentration camp -- and you line up the women and children in that village and kill them with a machine gun. You have committed an act of terrorism. You have committed a war crime and you will be judged guilty and executed, and properly so. Not even the most just cause can justify terrorism. It is always illegitimate, always criminal.
Allow me to add one other observation -- I think an important one -- on this point. It is not merely that the goals of terrorists do not justify their means. In addition, the means that terrorists use tell us something about their real goals. We can see this very simply by looking at what happens when terrorists come to power. They don't establish free societies. They don't establish governments that respect human rights. They establish dictatorships that trample human rights. It's the same whether we look at Cuba or at Iran or at Libya or at Afghanistan under the Taliban. Terrorist movements may talk about fighting for democracy and freedom, but if they're in the business of terror, you can bet they plan, when they come to power, to grind human rights into the dust.
So again, terrorism is always criminal, whether practiced by Israel, America, or the Palestinian Authority. The deliberate and systematic assault on innocents is evil. Nor do ratios count. In Afghanistan, when the final tally is over, America will probably have killed a lot more Afghans than the number of Americans slaughtered in New York and Washington. But that doesn't make the Taliban cause just, or America's cause unjust.
I think the United States is not and will not be cowed by arguments that try to delegitimize its war against terrorism -- arguments that equate terrorism with the unintentional killing of civilians. That's what I mean when I say that President Bush and the American people have moral clarity.
This brings us to the second principle -- strategic clarity. I think the United States understands that fighting terrorism doesn't really mean fighting the terrorists. Of course it is necessary and right to go after them. But they are not really the most important target. If you want to fight terrorism -- and I've been saying this for over two decades -- you don't go out looking for the needle in the haystack. You go after the haystack.
To use a different analogy, if you have kamikaze pilots coming at you, you can shoot down a kamikaze pilot here and there. You can even go after their squadron leader. But you will still have kamikazes coming in. The only way that you can stop the attacks from continuing is to go after the aircraft carrier that is their base. Likewise, if you want to stop terrorism, you have got to go after the regimes that stand behind the terrorists. You have to understand that the terrorists are not floating up in space. They have to take off from a certain place and go back to it. They have to have a location to hatch their grisly plots, and to equip and train themselves. That haven is always the territory of a sovereign state. If you take away the support of that sovereign state, the whole scaffolding of international terrorism will collapse into the dust.
That's exactly what the United States is doing now. It went after the Taliban and Al Qaeda began to crumble. There are remnants in Afghanistan. There is perhaps even a residual terrorist capacity. But when the roots are cut off, the grapes left on the vine wither and die. And this is fairly easy to do, because the whole terror network consists of a half-dozen states with about two dozen terrorist organizations affiliated with them -- sometimes working directly for them. If you take care of those states, the rest is easy. And there are only two things you can do with terror-sponsoring states: deter them or dismantle them. That means giving them a choice. This choice was well articulated by the British Prime Minister, speaking to the Taliban: "Surrender terrorism, or surrender power." They didn't surrender terrorism, and out they went. There is no third choice.
I think the United States is well on its way to handling two other terrorist regimes. One is practicing terrorism this very moment, inciting radicalism and terror and militancy from the Philippines to Los Angeles. I'm talking about Iran. But the first target will be Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Both of these regimes, if unattended, will succeed -- fairly rapidly -- in the programs they have launched to develop atomic weapons. And once they possess atomic weapons, these two foundations of the terror network could threaten the world and our civilization with a terror that we cannot even imagine today.
President Bush is absolutely right in boldly naming these two countries and going after them -- or in the case of Iran, perhaps, waiting for the implosion of its regime after the collapse of Saddam Hussein. So in addition to the moral clarity to identify all terrorism as illegitimate, the United States is demonstrating strategic clarity in moving to root out the terror-supporting regimes.
Imperative for Victory
Which brings me to the third principle: the imperative for victory. And when I say this, I don't just mean that the United States wants to win. That's obvious. I mean that the United States understands that the only way to defeat terrorism is actually to defeat it. That sounds redundant, but it isn't. There is a very powerful view today, after all -- held even by some former Presidents -- that says the root cause of terrorism is the deprivation of national rights or civil rights. This deprivation, according to this view, is what's driving terrorism -- which is, of course, what the terrorists themselves say. Anyone who knows modern history, however, can enumerate several hundred battles, struggles, conflicts, and wars that were aimed at the achievement of national liberation, independence, or equal and civil rights, and that did not employ terror. Indeed, one has to look very hard to find the use of terrorism in these conflicts.
For example, if we ask what is the worst occupation in history -- the very worst -- I think most of us would agree that it was the Nazi occupation of Europe. Yet when we look, we're hard pressed to find one example of, say, the French Resistance using terrorism. They had plenty of opportunities, but they never once targeted the wives and children of French collaborators, or even the wives or children of German officers stationed in France. Why didn't they? Because they weren't terrorists. They were democrats. Or take an example closer to home: the struggle of blacks for civil equality in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. That struggle never employed terror either, because it also proceeded from a democratic mind-set.
The only way to persuade people to obliterate buses full of children, or buildings, or cities -- the only way to persuade people to abandon the moral constraints that govern human action, even in war -- is to inculcate in their minds the idea that there is a cause higher or more important than morality. That cause could be racial. It could be religious. It could be ethnic. It could be social. But whatever it is, it must be total if it is going to allow people to circumvent morality even to the point of intentionally blowing up children. That kind of thinking proceeds not from a democratic, but from a totalitarian mind-set. That's why, from its inception, terrorism has been wedded to totalitarianism. From Lenin to Stalin to Hitler, down to the Ayatollahs, terrorism is bred by totalitarianism. It requires a machine that inculcates hatred from childhood, grinding it into peoples' minds and hearts until they are willing even to blow themselves up for the purpose of murdering innocents.
So the root cause of the kind of systemic terrorism we confront today is totalitarianism, and in order to defeat totalitarianism we have to defeat the totalitarian regimes. That was accomplished through war in the case of Nazi Germany. In the case of the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan won bloodlessly in the end. But he won. Victory over Nazism and communism were imperative for freedom. And in the case of militant Islamic terrorism, the same spirit is required.
Of course, the United States and its allies are often told that if they fight this war, they'll get hundreds of millions of people angry at them. For instance, many said that if America bombed Afghanistan during Ramadan, tens of thousands of Islamic activists would stream into Afghanistan to help the Taliban. Wrong. The United States bombed Afghanistan during Ramadan, but people who oppose America are streaming out of Afghanistan, not in. And what about all the governments in the area? Are they attacking the United States or are they trying to line up with it? They are trying to line up, because victory breeds victory and defeat breeds defeat. Insofar as the war against terrorism is victorious, it will compress the forces of Islamic militancy and terrorism and make it harder for them to draw recruits.
With these three principles -- moral clarity, strategic clarity and the imperative for victory -- the defeat of terrorism is not as distant as many people think. Beyond that, if I had to point to the one thing that is needed in the Arab and Muslim world to ensure that the next century will be better than the last -- for them and for us -- it would be to promote democracy, a free press, debate and dissent. In the end, the only antidote to terrorism is the antidote to totalitarianism. It is freedom. It is what the American flag represents to me and to billions in the world. It is the key to securing not merely peace of mind, but peace between peoples.
This peace is within our power. Now we must show that it is within our will.
Former Prime Minister of Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv in 1949, grew up in Jerusalem, and spent his high school years in the United States, where his father taught history. In 1967, he enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and served in an elite commando unit. Wounded in the rescue operation of hijacked Sabena Airline hostages at Ben Gurion Airport and later cited for outstanding operational leadership, he was discharged from the I.D.F. in 1972. Mr. Netanyahu received a B.S. in Architecture and an M.S. in Management Studies from M.I.T., and studied political science at M.I.T. and Harvard University. He was employed by the Boston Consulting Group, an international business consulting firm, and later joined the senior management of Rim Industries. In 1979, he organized an international conference against terrorism under the auspices of the Jonathan Institute -- a private foundation dedicated to the study of terrorism and named after his brother, who gave his life leading the famous and daring Entebbe rescue mission. Mr. Netanyahu served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 1982 to 1984, and as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations from 1986 to 1988, when he was elected to the Knesset as a Likud member and became Deputy Foreign Minister. In 1996, he was elected Prime Minister of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu is the author of three books: Terrorism: How the West Can Win (edited 1986), A Place Among the Nations (1992), and Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism (1995).
Victory over Nazism and communism were imperative for freedom. And in the case of militant Islamic terrorism, the same spirit is required.
The First Principle is Moral Clarity.
Identify all terrorism as illegitimate. Terrorism is always evil. Nothing justifies terrorism. The deliberate and systematic assault on innocents is evil. The main weapon that terrorists use against the West is not bombs or guns, but moral obfuscation. They don't establish free societies. They don't establish governments that respect human rights. They establish dictatorships that trample human rights.
The Second Principle is Strategic Clarity
The foundations of the terror network must be eliminated to stop terroism, it is not enough to eliminate individual terroist. Root out the terror-supporting regimes.
The Third Principle is Imperative for Victory
The only way to defeat terrorism is actually to defeat it.
the root cause of the kind of systemic terrorism we confront today is totalitarianism, and in order to defeat totalitarianism we have to defeat the totalitarian regimes.
Agents of hostile foreign powers do not have the rights which the constition of America guarantees it's citizens.
I don't know how accurate the denial of terrorist acts by the Resistance was, I do know there was a lot of revenge taken on actual or claimed collaborators after liberation.
With these three principles -- moral clarity, strategic clarity and the imperative for victory -- the defeat of terrorism is not as distant as many people think. Beyond that, if I had to point to the one thing that is needed in the Arab and Muslim world to ensure that the next century will be better than the last -- for them and for us -- it would be to promote democracy, a free press, debate and dissent. In the end, the only antidote to terrorism is the antidote to totalitarianism. It is freedom. It is what the American flag represents to me and to billions in the world. It is the key to securing not merely peace of mind, but peace between peoples.]
The very laws of Islam make it impossible to coexist with any other religion, or even any secular way of life.
Shari'a (Islamic law) is why none of the Moslem countries are democratic, because democracy is literally against the Islamic religion. Islam is not a religion, which can be separated from the state; it demands that the state laws be Shari'a laws. Shari'a forbids non-Muslims from having authority over Muslims.
The Shari'a determines Muslim behavior. Therefore a state for Muslims must implement this law. The Shari'a has never been collected and specified in a particular 'law book', the Shari'a is best understood as a shared opinion of the community, based on a literature that is extensive, but not necessarily coherent or authorized by any single body. This means that ultimately it gives totalitaric power to whom ever is ruling.
This in contrast to most current legal systems in the world, where the law is defined as systematic set of paragraphs and sections that is written down in what we call a law code. This code is normally written and authorized by a specific body, elected or otherwise: a legislative assembly. There fore basically everyone is playing by agreed upon and the same rules. Because the Shari'a does not have such a specific form, it is known as an uncodified law.
Where did I write that Jews and Christians don't generally get along as groups? Please don't misrepresent what I wrote.
With extraordinarily rare exceptions, this has occurred either in areas where the Muslims did not hold political power (as today in the US) or during a phase of comparative religious indifference. Invariably, such a phase has been followed by a "reform" which brought bigoted Moslems back to political power and a deterioration of the condition of non-Muslims.
Yes -- and you will note that the United States government prosecuted and punished him when his actions became known.
Your comments please on Jews, Christians, Moslems living together, worshipping as each pleases, with respect, in peace, working and playing together, and with peaceful and friendly discussions on each's religious history?
And paying taxes for secular local government?
Turkey is a westernized country, and enforces its laws as such. (The Turks, rather than destroy, absorbed much of the Byzantium culture, much like Rome did after conquering the Greeks.) Turkey is also the regional ally of Israel. It was under the Ottoman rule that the zionist movement started.
In Jordan, there are several court systems. The Muslims, Christians, and Jews all get their own system for intra-religious issues, and then they have a secular court system for inter-religious issues. (Ironically, the King of Jordan claims divine right to the throne as a descendent of Mohammed.)
Also note that Iraq is a secular country. Saddam only cries Jihad! when he thinks it will serve his intrests. Also, the Deputy PM of Iraq is a Christian.
"Sharia (Islamic law)"
We work with a Muslim CPA who describes Sharia law as an antique from cave dwellers. Or, as he says, a religion has no business establishing civil laws, nor any other laws as religion is God, not mortal interpretations d'jour. In his opinion, Islam must get away from legal business, political business, just as reformations in Europe painfully seperated the King from the Vatican.
Religions do evolve. Getting bogged down in history can be deceiving, especially after hundreds of years of translations, many by vested interests in retaining power.
It sounds like you have some specific examples in mind.
Yes and Turkey must diligently keep and protect it's secular government against the Islamic onslaughts:
"The court said the main opposition party violated a law that prohibited religious activities that could undermine the secular government."
The Scarf Skirmishes
Both Turkey and Iran are Muslim "outsiders," belonging to the non-Arab part of Islam. It is interesting that as such, they also represent the two extremes in today's Muslem culture, fundamentalism and secularism.
It is not Ms. Kavakci's chic white suit with gold buttons that caused the problem. It is the white scarf that covers her head, coupled with ideas of freedom she developed while living in Texas.
FOREIGN DESK | June 23, 2001
Turkish Court Bans Religious Party, Main Opposition Force
By DOUGLAS FRANTZ (NYT) 774 words
Turkey's messy political system suffered another jolt today when the country's highest court banned the religious-oriented Virtue Party. The court sai...
Turkish Court Bans Religious Party, Main Opposition Force
New York Times; New York, N.Y.; Jun 23, 2001; Douglas Frantz;
New York Times Company Jun 23, 2001
Turkey's messy political system suffered another jolt today when the country's highest court banned the religious-oriented Virtue Party. The court said the main opposition party violated a law that prohibited religious activities that could undermine the secular government.
The court stopped short of expelling large numbers of the party from Parliament, a move that would have automatically led to new elections because it would have left more than 5 percent of the Parliament seats vacant. The party controls 102 of the 550 seats. Most of the rest are split among the three governing parties.
The decision was announced after financial markets had closed here, but it seems highly likely to contribute to the turmoil that has seen the currency plunge, thousands of businesses close and 500,000 Turks lose their jobs since February.
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit ruled out early elections, saying the country had to deal with its economic difficulties. ''An atmosphere of an early election does not exist in any way,'' Mr. Ecevit told reporters before the court announced its decision. ''We are trying to solve the problems accumulated over the years. Even mentioning early elections is out of the question.''
Closing the Virtue Party will alter the political equation at a time when Mr. Ecevit's three-party coalition already faces strains in its effort to restore economic stability and to carry out changes demanded by international agencies in exchange for $16 billion in loans.
In its ruling, the Constitutional Court found that the party was a focus of ''Islamic and antisecular activities.'' Two members were expelled from Parliament, and five others were banned from politics for five years, which means they cannot join or form a party in that period.
Among the banned members of Parliament was Merve Kavakci, who caused a stir two years ago when she was denied permission to take the oath of office because she refused to remove her head scarf. Many conservative Turks view a head scarf as a symbol of Islamic piety. But the law bars civil servants and students from wearing them because of their religious connotations.
''It was decided by majority vote that the Virtue Party will be permanently closed for activities contrary to the principle of the secular republic,'' Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin told reporters in Ankara, where the decision was announced.
A large contingent of Virtue Party members threatened this week to resign if the party was closed. Most experts said the members would move to existing parties or form a new party. The Virtue Party's popularity has fallen in recent months, along with the popularity of the governing parties.
Oner Ayan, manager of emerging markets at Raymond James, the investment bank in New York, said the financial markets were quite unlikely to have a strong reaction unless a large number of party members resigned after the court decision, raising the prospect of elections.
The European Union, which is weighing Turkey's candidacy for membership, is widely expected to criticize the decision, even though it is legal to ban parties in Europe, and Germany is in the process of shutting down a neo-fascist organization.
In most cases, however, European parties are banned for advocating or participating in violence. The Virtue Party was closed for nonviolent activities more often defined as thought crimes.
''The Europeans tend to expect real violence or potential action among the reasons to ban a party,'' said Cagri Erhan, deputy director of European research at Ankara University.
The Virtue Party sprang full grown from the ashes of the Welfare Party, which became the country's most powerful Islamic-oriented party in 1996, when its leader, Necmettin Erbakan, became prime minister in a coalition government.
The coalition collapsed after a year in office under heavy pressure from the powerful military, which considers itself the guardian of the secular system. The military and opposition politicians argued that Mr. Erbakan had given crucial government jobs to people who supported Islamic law. After the Welfare Party was ousted from government, a court closed it, Mr. Erbakan was banned from politics for life, and most supporters made a smooth transition to the new Virtue Party.
This time, however, political Islam seems more fragmented. Former Mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Istanbul, a former party member, has indicated that he will form a moderate Islamic party, though he is still banned from politics.
* Tatilimizin bir kısmını Türkiye'de gecirmekteyim. Bu süre icerisinde dış basından yazıları size aktaracagım. Saygılarımla.
[Turkey, which is officially secular, regards the wearing of the Muslim headscarf as a political, pro-Islamic statement and has banned them in public institutions.
Virtue Party ban
Ms Kavakci, a newly-elected woman Virtue Party deputy, re-ignited the debate over the place Islam holds in Turkey when she wore a Muslim headscarf in parliament.
She has refused to back down, with the full support of her party leader, Recai Kutan.
But Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will not allow her to take her oath of office wearing a headscarf.
Turkey's chief prosecutor has already begun legal moves to ban the Virtue Party on the grounds that it is trying to overthrow the country's constitution by persisting with its support for Ms Kavakci.
This is the latest round in a long-running series of disputes between the two neighbouring countries, whose governments are ideologically at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Secularism was one of the main pillars of the modern Turkish state set up by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s.]
You are correct, it's just too bad that the Islamic terrorist have not learned this. It's just too bad that the so called enlightened Muslims who are living here in America have not instituted any kind of out- reach program to their poor ignorant brethren living in less fortunate environments. It's just too bad that instead of Americans hearing overwhelming condemnation from American Muslims about what happened here on September eleventh 2001, instead , about every other day I get to here about their rights, rights that would not exist except for the overwhelming influence of the Judeo-Christian ethics which built and enlightened the world to ideas such as respect for one's neighbor and for their equal rights.
IMHO Enlightened Muslims of western civilization should be in the front line of the information and education war against the likes of the parents of these terrorist who not only encourage their children to martyrdom, but take money for their children's blood and guts. The enlightened know that no god is worthy of child sacrifice.
Until I see American Muslims implementing some kind of terrorist eliminating education system for their third world brethren, I will continue to believe that just as Arafat's minions and the ardent Egyptian Islamic press, and the Saudi Arabians, in their English statements speak against terrorism, while in their Arabic tongues they continue to scream for infidel (that's you and me, anyone who is not a muslem ) blood, so our American Muslims are continuing to aid and support the work to eliminate the infidels.
American Muslims seem much more interested in convincing the likes of me, who actually did lose friends in the attack on the WTC, who should really not have to be at all concerned about this matter, than convincing the real source of what they call misinformation, the terrorists themselves. The terrorist are the ones who are abusing the meaning of Islam, not someone like me. So please expend some effort on dealing with the source. But of course if American Muslims are not really interested in change, American Muslims wouldn't do that ... and so they aren't. So what's a person like me, who actually did lose friends in the attack on the WTC to believe, what they say , or what they do?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.